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The CIOCD Specialty OCD Training and Accreditation Program

Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a specialized field. The national and global cost of the suffering and disability of the many OCD children, adolescents, and adults without access to timely specialty treatments is devastating. An increase in the number of clinicians specialized to treat and to supervise the treatment of OCD is urgently needed.

To address the urgent need for dissemination of expertise the CIOCD has established the Specialty Training and Accreditation Program for OCD through the lifespan. This program is designed to increase evidence based specialty expertise in assessment and treatment for OCD across Canada as well as internationally.

The International OCD Accreditation Task Force (ATF), created and overseen by the CIOCD, comprises experts on specialty treatments for OCD and related disorders through the lifespan representing 20 nations. This expert task force has established specialty knowledge and competency standards recommended for evidence based specialized clinical practice for OCD through the lifespan (specialty CBT, and pharmacotherapy). The ATF standards are published in the Special Issue of five papers, Psychiatry Research, 2021. The ATF aim is to achieve transformative international improvement in accessibility to specialized evidence based treatments for OCD and to address the serious insufficiency of experts in this field. This mental health advance is also highlighted in the recent McGill University News Release, 2021.

McGill University news release:

American Psychiatric Association news release:

Available clinical research and the experience of OCD experts indicate that timely evidence based specialty treatment is required to optimize symptom remission for OCD sufferers. Training in general psychiatry, psychology, and/or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) are not necessarily sufficient to acquire the specialized clinical skills required for best practice treatment of varied OCD symptom subtypes and related difficulties.

Current widely used training models, such as educational and training workshops, are helpful to communicate diagnostic issues and basic treatment interventions but cannot cover the complex skills required to address OCD subtypes and related difficulties to the recommended level of specialized practice. Further, there are insufficient academic training programs that offer treatment of OCD as a training elective to our next generation.

During ATF phase three certification (individuals) and accreditation (sites) criteria and dissemination processes will be developed and implemented based on the established ATF standards, with specific educational and clinical qualifications required for candidacy. The ATF comprises the expertise and representation required for broad international implementation.

An advanced training program will be offered to mental health professionals and centers based on the established standards. Specialty certification or accreditation will be awarded to qualified mental health professionals or treatment sites (respectively) that fulfill advanced-level specialty training and practice criteria. Several modalities of teaching, training, supervision, and consultation will be required, for example, in collaboration with University Directors of Training to increase specialized training programs that offer an elective rotation in this field.

Individuals and centers awarded CIOCD specialty certification or accreditation for clinical work or supervisory status with children, adolescents, or adults suffering from OCD will be listed on the Institute website and their contact information will be made accessible to OCD sufferers.

This process is currently ongoing for OCD and will then be undertaken for OCD-Related Disorders.

Sookman, D., Phillips, K.A., Mataix-Cols, D., Veale, D., 2021. Introduction to knowledge and competency standards for specialized treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder throughout the lifespan: phase two series by the International Accreditation Task Force of The Canadian Institute for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (CIOCD, Psychiatry Res. 298. 113753.

Abstract: This paper presents an introduction to the phase two series of papers by the 14 nation International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Task Force (ATF) of the Canadian Institute for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. These papers present evidence-based knowledge and competency standards developed by the ATF for specialized treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) through the lifespan, operationalized as clinician abilities. Specialty standards for OCD do not currently exist and are deemed by experts to be foundational to transformative improvement globally in quality and accessibility of evidence-based treatments for this crippling disorder. Currently available guidelines for care are deemed to be essential but insufficient because of highly variable clinician knowledge and competencies specific to this disorder. The ATF standards encompass specialized cognitive behavior therapy, and pharmacotherapy, for pediatric and adult OCD. Evidence-based methodology with integration of expert opinion are described. Upcoming ATF phases three and four will involve development and implementation of training criteria and processes for certification (individual clinicians) and accreditation (clinical sites) based on the ATF standards. These standards will require periodic review and updating commensurate with advances in clinical research. We hope that this international initiative constitutes a significant step forward to inform and advance evidence-based specialized treatment and training for OCD.

CIOCD International Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Accreditation Task Force (ATF) Members